Non-Traditional: The Journey of an Older Student

Although I would hardly be considered old by most standards, as a college student, 28 is an old age. This is for all my older students on campus because, yes, we are important and, yes, we do matter. 

written by Alisha Cole

Being an older college student is tough socially. I consider myself rather outgoing and I always try my best to engage with my peers. Yet, I find myself feeling left out and often invisible in some of my classes. Something several of us older students have encountered is seeing someone we once had class with, saying hello or smiling, only to find that the gesture is not returned. It’s difficult to figure out why this happens.   

The thing that is most fascinating about us older students is our stories. Have you ever wondered why we have returned to college at an older age? You may be surprised to hear about our journeys, some good, some not so good, which have brought us to this point in our lives. And many of us are willing to share. 

As commuters, older students are often out of the loop as to what’s happening around campus.  If you have a class with an older student, say hello, get to know them, tell them about a club you’re involved with and invite them to attend.  

I’m graduating this year and will be leaving Webster University behind, but I’d like to know that my fellow older students are being invited to events and feeling accepted. My time at Webster goes without regret, but I do wish I had been more involved in campus activities and gotten to know more people. My insecurities about my age got in the way of that. Webster thrives on being a diverse environment, and that diversity includes the people who might have a few years on you. 

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